Wednesday, December 18, 2019

I Love it When You Can Make a Set

I would have to admit that I am a sucker for a set. If something I see matches something I already have, I have a very hard time leaving it at the store (garage sale, flea market, wherever). I have more fun putting together sets than just buying everything all at once. (Feels too much like a kit--all the fun is already done!)

It looks like I didn't detail it here on the blog, but I had a red star block that I took out of my Bright Stars on Black quilt (based on the Pecking Order quilt). (I replaced it with a lighter pink block to flow better with the rest of the quilt.)

Feeling bad that this red block wasn't going to make it onto the quilt, I decided I would make a pillow out of it. I don't generally decorate with pillows, but how could I resist making one from this one (favourite) block!

In November I finished quilting the front of the pillow cover:
I layered the block with some scrap batting (literally scrap as I sewed two pieces together) and backed it with more of this black fabric (which will never end!)

I sewed the center with embroidery floss (two strands) the same as the blocks on the quilt:
And then with the machine, I went around the outside, "bouncing" from point to point.
You can see I marked it with chalk and still have to wash that off!

I avoided doing the back of the pillow for a while because I knew it was going to get involved. I was definitely going to use the same black (again, I have a supply for two lifetimes), but the pieces were all smaller than I really needed--too narrow to cover half of the pillow and too short too.

So I thought of a plan to cover the back with three partially overlapping panels. This also would avoid using a zipper, which I didn't have and didn't want to buy.

After patching in an extra piece of fabric to make four strips the right length, I hemmed one long edge on two of the pieces. The other two pieces, I put back to back and sewed them together along both long edges.
 I then pressed the seams to lock the stitches, and then pressed the seam allowances open:
Then I could turn this tube inside out.
Pressing the seams open before turning, makes it really easy to make a nice crisp edge:
Then I top stitched along both long edges for reinforcement.
After all that, I had three strips of fabric,
The outside ones (top and bottom) are one layer and hemmed on the long inside edge, and the center one is double sided and top stitched along both long edges.

Now I could layer them onto my pillow front. First the centre one goes on (more or less in the center):
Then the two other pieces go on, matching the edges of the pillow front and overlapping with the center piece. The good side facing down, of course.
Then I sewed all around the pillow. Yes, all around. I did not have to leave a 6 inch opening for turning. :)
Apparently Husqvarna is stridently metric because there are no inches marked on my machine. Since I had planned for a 1/2 inch seam allowance, I lined up the edge of the fabric with the edge of my walking foot and then moved the needle to the left until it was 1/2 inch from the edge.

You can see I'm now pinning from the "wrong" way too. A new habit I'm trying. Putting them in from right to left makes it easy to remove them both because I'm right handed and can do it with my right hand and because the pin head hangs over the edge of the fabric and is easy to grab. But since you're not supposed to run over your pins, this means you have to remove the pin before you get there. And usually the fabric is only too happy to move once the pin is gone. Not good.

I just watched a tutorial where the host pins as above and keeps the pins far enough to the left that just the tip goes under the pressure foot (not the needle). You can keep your pins in and nothing has a chance to move before you stitch it down.

I know many of you sew over your pins and have done so for years without any trouble. I used to too. But I have had my needle break because it came down on a pin. More than once actually. And that is when you run into risk of the needle shard flying around and landing somewhere--hopefully not your eye. So although the risk of it happening is small, the risk of it being bad if it does happen is high enough that I avoid it. (Hitting a pin can also throw off your machine's timing and that's no fun to fix either.)

I tried something new at the corners. I like to reinforce them and haven't found a good way to do it. This time I sewed one stitched past the corner, back stitched two stitches, then went forward one stitch and rotated the fabric for the next seam.
Then I did the same thing: stitched once forward, went back two stitches, and then continued the rest of the seam. I don't know if it will make any difference, but I wanted to try it.

I did trim my corners...not too close to the stitching.
And then like the good garment sewer I was taught to be, I graded the seam allowances to reduce bulk.
In this case, I trimmed the seam allowance from the pillow back. I'm not sure how much difference it made in this case since the front consists of two layers of fabric and the batting, but oh well, it didn't make it worse!

Then the easy time of turning it inside out through the slits in the pillow back.
 SO much easier than trying to do it through a six inch gap!!

Next it was time to stuff it with the pillow. I pushed it under the centre and one side,
and then squished it under the other side.
 Easy peasy!

Here's an overexposed shot so you can see what the back looks like:
And here's the completed pillow.
It is pretty well camouflaged sitting on the quilt itself, so I think I'm going to have to accent a chair in the room.

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